Strategic Prayer Commitment UPDATE

  1. Last Friday night 40-50 people from a bunch of expressions of Christ’s body across the Illawarra, met to Pray, Praise and Worship at Port Kembla. These gatherings are designed to further underline what God is doing through a strategic commitment to prayer in a significant number of churches in the region. They provide safe space for testimonies to be shared and for ministry to each other as well as for and on behalf of the church. Gordon Barr and the Port Kembla Baptist team coordinated and hosted this event with leadership input from the National Day of Prayer & Fasting / 40 Day Relay team and support from a few others of us. We celebrated with others about changed lives, re-established mission priorities and miraculous signs and wonders. One in particular was witnessed by those in attendance when our brother and church family member (living in another location) Mike Lord drummed for a section of worship all the while not being able to sense the ground with his feet and legs to even walk with any coordination, let alone drum. We praise the Lord of heaven and earth for His wonderful provision through this season of prayer “in one accord”.

The final gathering will start with a BBQ tea on Saturday week the 24th March at the Coniston United Church Centre in Bridge Street (where Pulse 94.1FM is located). Make it a date in your diary if you can.

  1. ‘The Prayer Group with Legs for HOPE’ continues EACH and EVERY TUESDAY evening from 5.30 – 6.30pm and is still tracking WITH the ‘National 40 Day Prayer Relay’. Julie and I believe that this group and time slot should continue after Easter so we can REMAIN INTENTIONALLY COMMITTED to this call to strategic and corporate prayer. God continues to use the focused time to promote prophetic pictures that TOGETHER we are seeking more clarity about for the advancement of God’s kingdom here ON earth. DON’T FORGET – If you can’t get there (and there is no obligation to this effect), text me or call me during the hour of prayer on Tuesdays, on 0418 297 504 and let me know you would like to be a part of our corporate effort from wherever you are and we’ll journey it together the best we can.

March is MOVING Month (LeaderSHIFT 2018 UPDATE)

One of the KEY needs for us right now and the focus of our ‘March IS Moving Month’ strategy, is discovering a leadership development framework that will not only support our vision and mission effort BUT will sustain it and reproduce it in the time to come.

So, THIS TUESDAY, I’d like to invite those of you who have some time from 4.30pm before the Prayer Group with Legs at 5.30pm OR for any others who might have time from 6.30pm after the prayer group, to join me to talk about what God might be revealing to you from the reflection questions after the message summary in the Journal.

I am having a few email conversations each week and that’s terrific, but I’d also like to listen, reflect and discuss these things with any others who might like to chat then stay for prayer OR pray then stay for a chat SO, Tuesday 4.30-5.30pm OR 6.30-7.30pm.

The Prayer Points about this from the Deacon’s Meeting are up on the Prayer Lounge wall

PRAYER FIRST – As a direct outcome of the recent deacons meeting (our current leadership framework & monitor for this process), we want to transparently engage with you our church family so that we LEARN TOGETHER how to be and facilitate (lead) a mission community that advances the kingdom of heaven – here and beyond … These are our initial prayer points so we can understand together what outcomes we are hoping for …

Praying for …

  • A sense of excitement about belonging to this mission community and trusting Jesus to help us function effectively as a church during this leadership development process
  • A renewed energy and urgency to serve the community, build up the body of Christ and advance the kingdom of heaven.
  • A Shared responsibility to build safe spaces within which existing and new people alike can explore what it means to become a follower of Jesus (repent, follow Jesus through the waters of baptism and confess Christ as Lord), AND to grow as a follower of Jesus (softened hearts & teachable spirits that are infilled with the Holy Spirit for counsel and the growth of fruit whilst matching gifts and skills with their sense of call to mission task(s))
  • Honouring the discovered functions of service and stewardship so we ‘encourage hearts’ to play their part in, through AND beyond the life of the whole church
  • Forming accessible groups that can foster shepherds, task managers and coordinators and as such, can nurture apprentices into becoming biblically shaped spiritual leaders for the long term

That we can celebrate ALL followers of Jesus as ‘fellow workers’ (i.e. missionaries and leaders operating according to the grace apportioned to them)

Weekly Message Input Accompanying ‘March is MOVING Month’.


We started with Jesus (as we always should) and sought to hear from God about Jesus’ leadership example right out of the blocks of His earthly ministry as described in Mark 1


More clues from Jesus about how His body should function, That is, what a functioning church leadership should be mostly concerned with as highlighted from Luke 11


A Synopsis of the Shape of Functioning Church Leadership (ACTS & EPHESIANS)


I’d like to share a vision for a functioning leadership development process that could sustain and reproduce leaders for the mission

Easter 2018

We will be advertising our Easter Services in the neighbourhood from this week.

9am     Good Friday (March 30th)

10am   Easter Sunday (April 1st)

NB: Don’t forget to put your CLOCKS BACK ONE HOUR on Saturday night March 31st

The 2018 Good Egg Guide

A hard copy of this year’s Good Easter Egg purchase guide is available on the journal display tower in the info foyer.  We will post a copy online ASAP. This is a guide to purchasing Easter Eggs containing chocolate that has been produced by Farmers engaged in good farming practices, particularly with regard to stopping child slavery and trafficking in countries where most chocolate is produced. Thank you for purchasing Easter Eggs with this in mind.

A Summary of this week’s message for Prayer, Reflection, Response & Action

The Series is … ‘Cultivating the Culture of Heaven On Planet Earth’

Cultures 9 (Part 2)

 ‘CHURCH LEADERSHIP – The Divine Dance Expressed on Earth AS IT IS in Heaven’

Our FOCUS Scriptures are Matthew 6:5-15, John 17 and Acts 2 as ever (worth a re-read for this context) and we will add LUKE 11 for today’s reflection specifically.

We DON’T pretend to know what the leadership we need looks like as yet BUT we DO believe that it needs to represent the ‘Divine Dance’ that exists in heaven because at the very least, that is the leadership framework that sent Jesus into the world and we simply want to look and operate like that; a body that sends Jesus shaped missionaries into the world around us, aligning things to God’s heaven. So, we will search God’s living written word to discover what THIS sort of leadership looks like and then set about doing it. Last Sunday we simply started outlining what leadership of the body of Christ could and should look like if it follows the pattern of our head, even Christ.

Our hope for the next few weeks is that we discuss our leadership needs as a whole church family, with a view to aligning these needs with the mission we have been called to engage AND with what the bible says Jesus shaped leadership should look like.

We invite you to engage this process by praying and reflecting upon the questions in the weekly Rising HOPE journal that are at the end of the message summary and either email, text me OR grab me for a chat, ANY thoughts or responses you have so we can facilitate a ‘WHOLE’ local church body response and make solid, kingdom of heaven like decisions about how we will develop the church’s leadership as soon after Easter as is appropriate.

We are in this together – a mission (or apostolic) company

When thinking and praying about what a functioning church should be most concerned with, I was led by the Holy Spirit to Luke 11;  I think partly because it starts with Luke’s version of Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer and the Matthew version Ch 6:5-15 is our key reference scripture for this series on ‘Cultivating the Culture of HOPE’

But mostly because in Luke 11 Jesus illuminates distractions and stumbling blocks that are very real and ever present today in the struggle / battle we fight to uphold the revelation given to Peter; that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God as the foundation of the church that Jesus builds (NB: Luke’s positioning of Peter’s Confession lays foundational context for Ch. 11)

Ok, when thinking about what a heaven looking church leadership should be most concerned with ….

Luke 11:1-4

As we’ve discussed previously, kingdom looking prayer starts with awe and reverence for who God is (Hallowed) THEN seeks first His kingdom, THEN our needs in the context of a life style of forgiveness (kingdom culture cultivated as spirit nature), THEN praise Him for the VICTORY we live – IN Christ i.e. victory over sin and death HAS been won.

Luke 11:5-13

Boldness and Confidence in Christ’s SUFFICIENCY is the KEY to living a life of contentment       (i.e. God’s answers to prayer – not ours)

Jesus speaks of a Good, Good Father who gives good gifts and THEN the bit we often miss and my life has been changed inside out by ….

Vs. 13 – The Holy Spirit IS THE GIFT (comforter, provider, counsellor, empowerer, supporter, healer, advisor, leader …)

He wants to give us His Holy Spirit because that IS HIS SUFFICIENCY – the Holy Spirit sufficient for Jesus’ needs (in the garden – on the cross) and therefore ALL sufficient for our needs

Learn from Jesus – His passion, His petitioning the Father, His persevering, His GOOD parenting

Luke 11: 14-28

The obvious truth is that a kingdom divided against itself can’t stand BUT most of the battles we get embroiled in aren’t measured against the standard that is the life and ministry of Christ to test them (this is the definition of discernment) (cf. vs 23)

It’s actually pretty easy to recognise / discern if something is from Jesus because it will look like the kingdom of heaven (vs 20)

No excuse or alternative to Jesus (not even His Mum as suggested by an admirer in vs 27)

Vs 28 Jesus’ response to vs 27 and any other power is “rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it”

Luke 11:29-32

Now … read and reflect CAREFULLY. In the context of what is primary, the need for a sign can often be an indication of a lack of faith

Signs and wonders are for advancing the kingdom of heaven NOT for making us feel better about our faith

Blessed is he or she who finds wonder being obedient in the routine of daily life and recognizes that it’s easy to live by faith when the dramatic and exciting becomes the norm

Jesus is still Jesus and Heaven is still calling … even when the drama fades

Luke 11:33-36

Think about the light being and touching everywhere … if you do you will understand that Jesus is talking about the whole of the Church, His body being FULL of light so there is NO PART that is dark.  There’s a bunch of things here that help us with what a functioning leadership should be most concerned with … transparency, and accountability / always able to be seen (His glory) / where the light is the dark can’t exist

Luke 11: 37-42

Watch out for people who just want to find fault, wanting to snare the efforts of advancing the kingdom by mistaking an insignificant detail or regulation as being of primary importance in terms of God’s love and justice. It’s Pharisaic at best.

Get the focus of ministry in order … start with God’s love and justice and the logistics of ministry will not only get done, they will be celebrated as part of the whole

I shared the example of when I present ‘Safe Churches’ workshops. One of the challenges with this presentation is ALWAYS the absolutely crucial responsibility to ensure that the legal and insurance issues are clearly articulated BUT I am unmoved when it comes to putting the kingdom of heaven first, standing with evidence that if we focus on getting our hearts and minds aligned with the culture of the kingdom of heaven, the other issues won’t simply overwhelm us, they WILL be achieved out of a relationship that prioritises obedience to Christ (cf. vs 28)

The functioning church leadership that looks like the ‘divine dance’ of heaven

DOESN’T … Feel that power or almighty authority or grand standing or name dropping is something to be grasped (Luke 11: 43 cf. Phil 2)

DOESN’T Lord it over people or remember the sins of those who make every day, genuine mistakes (Jesus refers to unmarked graves as one of the many regulatory issues facing Jewish people – i.e. they needed to perform cleansing rituals to be allowed back in the temple after 7 days banishment. In the case Jesus uses, not just marked graves that could be seen but unmarked graves that no one can see ) (Luke 11: 44 cf. Num. 19:16)

DOESN’T load people down with prohibitive rituals and hoops that have to be jumped through – it’s the love of God that compels …. Scribes evaded the regulations themselves (Luke 11:45-46)

DOESN’T despise genuine apostolic and prophetic (equipping ministry) anointing and calling BUT looks for it and commissions it;  unlike the scribes who revered dead prophets but tried to kill any living one that led them or aligned them with the kingdom of heaven (Luke 11: 47-51)

DOESN’T make it hard for people to experience the treasures of heaven found in the living written word … the scribes complicated scripture to a level of exclusion (basically so they didn’t have to engage it themselves) (Luke 11: 52-54)

We should want (as Jesus did) ALL to hear & receive revelation

Prayer, Reflection & Response

(Some guidelines to encourage the conversation about what an appropriate leadership development process should look like for us)

  1. Reflect and pray about ANYTHING which stands out for you from this week’s message with particular regard to what leading / facilitating a kingdom of heaven looking church should be primarily concerned about. Highlight things which were new ideas or renewed ideas. Do you think there would be any worth in prioritizing these concerns or do you think they should all be pursued with the same level of passion and commitment? How? Journal some thoughts and make sure you share any fresh revelation you receive.
  2. Does Luke 11 give you any insights into healthy leadership practices? What could healthy leadership look like? Write down and share any thoughts you have about specific ways to develop healthy leadership.
  3. Why do YOU think Jesus gets so wound up in Luke 11, particular in verses 39 – 54? Do you think the warnings of Jesus in this chapter are relevant today? How so?
  4. Thinking about Luke’s version of ‘no one hides a light under a bowl’ in comparison with the things we reflected on recently from Matthew’s version in Chapter 5:13-16, how might our          leadership development process prioritize ensuring that the “whole body is full of light”?
  5. If a ‘heaven looking’ leadership development process regards the equipping ministries (i.e. apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers and pastors) as essential for equipping the saints to equip others, can you identify people you are aware of who might have an equipping ministry anointing (as far as you understand them) – even yourself?                                                                  If you come up with a few names, would you be prepared to discuss your reflections with           them or with someone else you trust as a leader and confidante, whom you can pray with?

Let’s Talk via email, phone OR for an hour before OR after Prayer Group on Tuesday evenings

Here’s the Link to What’s Happening at the HUB this week

Here’s the Link to this week’s Prayer Diary for The HOPE Project

Here’s the Link to HOPE College, Student information & Application Process

Here’s the Link to Graeme’s Available Weekly Calendar Times